Photos courtesy NHRA

NHRA stunner: U.S. Army to end sponsorship of Don Schumacher Racing, NHRA after this season

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In a stunning announcement, the National Hot Rod Association and Don Schumacher Racing revealed Sunday that the U.S. Army, which has been one of the sport’s largest and most high-profile primary sponsors for nearly 20 years, will end its relationship with both the sport and team after this season.

The Army has been primary sponsor for eight-time Top Fuel champ Tony Schumacher for nearly two decades, co-primary sponsor on Antron Brown’s Top Fuel dragster for nearly a decade, and became a part-time primary sponsor this season for Top Fuel driver Leah Pritchett.

All three drivers race for DSR.

Here’s the official announcement:

U.S. ARMY REDIRECTING ITS MARKETING EFFORTS FOR 2019
BROWNSBURG, Ind. (July 8, 2018) – The U.S. Army has decided not to renew its sponsorship with Don Schumacher Racing (DSR) and the National Hot Rod Association (NHRA) due to a reallocation of its marketing budget. DSR is actively pursuing a strong brand to partner with the team and its roster of sponsors and personalities who have contributed to 325 NHRA national event titles and 16 championships.
“The U.S. Army has been a great partner of Don Schumacher Racing for nearly two decades,” said team owner Don Schumacher. “It has been a mutually beneficial relationship with the U.S. Army instilling the mental, physical and emotional strength of the U.S. Army Soldier in all of us. We remain extremely proud of our representation of the U.S. Army and its brave Soldiers who are 100 percent committed to our country. We will continue to activate on behalf of the U.S. Army for the remainder of 2018 while showcasing our acumen to future partners looking to inject their brand with the power and precision that has earned DSR more than 320 wins and 16 championships.”
“The U.S. Army has been an incredibly loyal and longtime supporter of NHRA Championship Drag Racing and we are sad to see them go, especially during a time in which NHRA is experiencing so much success,” said NHRA president Glen Cromwell. “One of the most significant elements of our partnership with the U.S. Army has been its sponsorship of NHRA’s Youth and Education Services program, which hosts approximately 30,000 high school students each year across the country and will continue to do so. Not only does this program serve our communities by inspiring students to pursue STEM-related career opportunities, but it also acts as a powerful recruiting tool for vocational education programs.
“The NHRA Mello Yello Series reaches millions of fans each year at its 24 national events which are each broadcast on FOX Sports. We’ve had seven sellout days so far this season and all of our metrics are up. We are excited about NHRA’s future and look forward to welcoming new partners to our sport.”
The U.S. Army’s current commitments will remain through 2018.

Sergio Perez still has coronavirus; will miss second consecutive F1 race

F1 Sergio Perez out
Laurent Charniaux/Pool via Getty Images
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SILVERSTONE, England — Sergio Perez will be out for a second F1 race at Silverstone this week after again testing positive for the coronavirus.

The Mexican driver had hoped to return to Formula One after spending seven days in quarantine, but his Racing Point team said this morning he had tested positive.

“He is physically well and recovering,” the team said. “The whole team wishes Sergio and his family well and we look forward to his return.”

That means German veteran Nico Hulkenberg again fills in for Sunday’s 70th Anniversary Grand Prix after having also replaced Sergio Perez when he was out for the F1 British Grand Prix at the same venue last week. Hulkenberg did not start that race because of an engine problem.

There are two consecutive weekends of racing at Silverstone as Formula One tries to pack in races following the pandemic-delayed start to the season.

Perez became the first Formula One driver to test positive for coronavirus, and it had been unclear whether he would be available to drive after the period of quarantine was extended to 10 days.

Racing Point also was in the news Friday after being hit with a 15-point penalty in the Formula One constructors’ championship and fined 400,000 euros ($470,000) Friday for using brake ducts based on those from last year’s Mercedes cars.

The stewards ruled that Mercedes was the “principal designer” of the parts, and that Racing Point made only minor changes to computer design data it received from Mercedes.

Rival team Renault filed protests about the legality of the brake ducts, which were added to the “listed parts” under F1 rules for 2020. That means teams must design their own. Racing Point argued it was merely using information about the Mercedes parts to inform its own design.

Racing Point uses customer engines from Mercedes and has admitted basing its 2020 car design on photographs of last year’s Mercedes car. The similarities led to the Racing Point being nicknamed the “pink Mercedes” when it was first seen in testing ahead of the season.

Racing Point can appeal the ruling. The points deduction drops the team from fifth to sixth in the standings, below Renault. The ruling doesn’t affect the points totals for Racing Point’s drivers.